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California Blackworms Curriculum
(7-12 grade toxicology activity)

Introduce the principles of toxicology with a lab activity. By exposing blackworms to a toxicant in varying concentrations, participants collect and analyze data, and witness and discuss concepts - including exposure pathways, nature of effects, acute and chronic exposure, dose-response, and reversible and irreversible effects.

This activity is made available with permission from the Center for Chemical Education at Miami University and has been modified from the "Toxicants and California Blackworms" activity developed by the Center for Chemical Education at Miami University (available as the "original activity").

This provides background Information for “Toxicity Testing with California Blackworms and Alcohol” activity.

Toxicity Testing with California Blackworms
Using Alcohol
This version is appropriate for middle and high school students and requires a minimum of 1 1/2 hours. Students use lab measurement skills to prepare their own solutions. This version looks more directly at the toxic effect of alcohol on the worms.

Toxicity Testing with California Blackworms Using Alcohol

This activity was used for the Med Start and
Pharm Camp
student workshops.

Teacher Guides / Student Worksheets
(In pdf format.
Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
Adobe Acrobat Reader - click to download
Tobacco activity
Original Alcohol activity

This activity was presented at the 2002 Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology.

Blackworm Lesson:
Using mystery to capture student interest
The "Mystery" version is more about an environmental situation, using the worms as indicator species, This version is appropriate for upper elementary to middle school students and requires about 45 minutes.The alcohol solutions are made in advance for the students. 


Blackworms lesson with mystery
Student sheet
Observation sheet
Adult cheat sheet

Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center
University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, Room 244
PO Box 210207, Tucson, AZ, USA 85721-0207

Funded by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
Page Content: Stephanie Nardei
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